Macadamia Nuts Are The Best Thing To Happen To Breakfast

Chocolate chips, blueberries, even pecans — sweet breakfasts lend themselves to various toppings. Whether you're a fan of pancakes or swear by buttermilk Belgian waffles, a batter-based meal pairs well with a drizzle of syrup and extra flavors. However, if you want to add some crunch to your morning mainstay, try swapping out the standard toppings for macadamia nuts. 

Thanks to their flavor and crunchiness, these nuts have cropped up across social media, do-it-yourself recipes, and restaurant breakfast menus across the country. They can be mixed in syrup, a coconut macadamia French toast recipe, or you can find options at resorts like Koʻa Kea Resort in Kauai, Hawaii. At the hotel's eatery called Red Salt, these types of nuts star in multiple breakfast options including pancakes, waffles, and even coffee with options for a macadamia twist. 

"Macadamia nuts have a rich, nutty, and buttery taste with a subtle sweetness," Chef Noelani Planas at Red Salt told Tasting Corner. "They are crunchy yet creamy, which makes them great for sprinkling on top of softer breakfast foods to give dishes a contrasting texture." 

A growing demand for macadamia nuts

Consumers, whether breakfast eaters or snackers, have increasingly turned to plant-based options which are chock full of protein. As such, macadamia nuts are expected to see a surge in demand over the next five years. Experts project the current, $1.61 billion macadamia market in the U.S. will increase to $2.69 billion by 2029. That's good news for fans of sweet breakfasts.

"Although macadamia nuts don't originate from Hawaii, the climate here is perfect for growing the crops, which have made them a staple in Hawaiian cuisine," explained Chef Noelani Planas. "When visiting Kauai and the other Islands, people want and even expect to try local tropical ingredients like macadamia nuts, which has further popularized the use of the nut in dishes."

Such popularity may also be attributed to their inherent qualities. The nuts' trademark taste and texture primes them for pancakes, waffles, and the like, but also invites other complementary flavors, elevating breakfast dishes all the more. 

Macadamia nuts pair well with a variety of breakfast foods and flavors

Part of the breakfast allure of macadamia nuts is that they can be used with other toppings. So, while you can certainly improve pancakes and waffles with a handful of them and a drizzle of maple syrup, you don't have to stop with just one flavor. Like other nuts — peanuts, hazelnuts, and pistachios  — they pair well with creative and delicious breakfast add-ins.

"The flavor of macadamia nuts pairs well with coffee, coconut, and anything that has a mild, sweet texture like baked breads, pancakes, waffles and pastries," said Chef Noelani Planas.

For instance, Belgian waffles can feature crushed macadamia nuts, bananas, whipped cream, and coconut syrup. Ube desserts that are special to Hawaii also frequently take advantage of macadamia nuts, most notably in cookies. And even if you're not crazy about breakfast foods, these types of nuts can transform into a latte or coffee syrup. 

Ultimately, with so many ways to incorporate them into your morning meal, there's truly something for everyone.